Cisco battles over name

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CISCO, the trade body that describes itself as the voice of the smaller quoted company, is engaged in a David and Goliath battle with one of the largest companies in the world, Cisco Systems.

The battleground - not surprisingly - is the names of the two organisations. When the trade body called itself Cisco years ago, no one had heard of the US group, which specialises in systems for the internet.

Cisco Systems arrived in the UK early this decade, however, and has made a similar impact to its huge growth in the US.

It is estimated that more than half of the world's internet traffic is carried on systems created by the US group, whose name is a shortened form of San Francisco, the city where it was founded.

This success has led it to be valued as one of the world's top five companies, with a market capitalisation of pounds 200bn.

Cisco, the trade body, has become the victim of this success. It has had to field scores of calls from people wanting it to help build them a website and its website - - is constantly being accessed by people wanting the technology group.

The two organisations have been in talks about the trade body changing its name, but these have floundered over how much Cisco Systems is willing to pay to end the confusion.

So far it has offered just a few thousand pounds - enough to cover the cost of changing the trade body's stationary. But John Pierce, who took over last month as chief executive of the trade body, is holding out for enough to fund a fresh marketing campaign to launch the new name.